A certain kind of woman loves Daniel O’Donnell and that is my Irish mom. Despite the recent death of his own mother Daniel is continuing his international tour dates. He will be in my home town (Minneapolis) this coming Monday, June 2nd at the University of Minnesota’s Northrup Auditorium. Even famed University of Minnesota alumni Bob Dylan would not fill the Northrup Auditorium as fast as Daniel O’Donnell. He has almost a cult following in the Midwest. Going down to Branson, Missouri to see Daniel O’Donnell would be the equivalent of going to Mecca for my Irish mom.

Daniel O’Donnell is often on public television where I live. Daniel’s performances can be repeated through out the weekend. It is not unusual for my mom (who is from Belfast) to clap and jump up from her recliner like she has front row seats. He is the son she never had.

What my mom did was give birth to two “Outdoorsmen”. Her two son’s fish, hunt grouse, hunt water fowl, hunt deer, ice fish, and then the cycle begins again. One of her grandsons is a bow hunter – which my mom for some reason finds “Very Irish”. Her sons have appeared at her back door at one time or another with a string of fish, bagged deer, or water fowl. They are dressed head to tow in a brand name of work gear called Carhartt. (I seldom see them in anything else – except in summer). They wear Canadian Sorrel boots. Their lips are chapped and their knuckles red from cold. In the maw of winter in a bad mood when my brothers are repairing cars that don’t start, water pipelines that freez, and old furnaces that go out her sons give a true meaning to giving someone an ‘icy stare’

I think my mom envisioned sons more like Daniel O’Donnell. He’d be coming up to the door in winter dressed in a smart ski jacket and have rosy cheeks. Then my mom and Daniel O’Donnell would sit down for a mug of hot chocolate and a good long chat – seemingly to have all the time in the world. But non-the-less she loves her rugged sons a lot. She will even sit outside (something she is not prone to do) and talk with them during the summer. She will hold court at her picnic table ablaze with citronella candles to keep bugs away . But maybe, just for a moment, wishing her sons had a lilt in their voices like Daniel O’Donnell.

Here is a picture of my Irish mom’s grandson, Connor, hunting.